Car Owners Unable To Re-Register Cars

MAY 9, 2011


California residents planning automobile road trips this summer beware. The Department of Motor Vehicles is not allowing July auto registrations to be paid. The DMV has been ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown to refuse to accept payment of all two million July vehicle registrations until the state and governor can figure out how to successfully pass the tax extension for vehicle licensing.

The move is an attempt by legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown to buy time to continue to negotiate a budget package that includes tax increases and the increased vehicle registration fees.

Rather than allow auto owners to pay vehicle licensing fees due in July and then send out another notice of additional fees due should the tax increases pass, the directive from the DMV states:

Effective immediately, do not collect registration renewal fees due on or after July 1, 2011. You will be notified when this is no longer in effect. When any registration renewal fees are due on or after July 1, 2011, inform the applicant that a payment cannot be accepted at this time. For transactions processed through the Business Partner Automation program (BPA), refer customers to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office for processing.

Car Tax Dropping

Under current state law, the vehicle license tax is scheduled to drop on July 1 back to 0.65 percent of a car’s value — the 2009 level — from legislatively increased amount of 1.15 percent. As part of his budget proposal and tax increase extensions, Brown wants to keep the fee at the higher amount.

To do this, Brown signed SB 94 into law on last week (authored by Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) to delay sending the July registration notices because he doesn’t want drivers to get the smaller bill this month. According to Brown’s office, the governor said he is trying to avoid the cost of mailing a second bill after the tax increase is approved, asking drivers to pony up the increased amount.

Bob Rieger, the owner of Automated Vehicle Registration Services, stands to lose his business because of the registration delay. Rieger contacted Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Cucamonga, because Rieger risks losing all 270 of his affiliate businesses if the July registrations cannot be paid by California’s automobile owners.

In an email to Dutton, Rieger wrote:

We reside in Petaluma, CA, and provide DMV services to 250+ companies through out CA.  We are in receipt of the attached memo from the CA DMV that adversely impacts the 250+ companies, and thousands of employees.  The memo is and a link to the DMV site is HERE

The results of this will virtually shut down over two thousand business across the state, 250 are customers of AVRS.  I don’t believe this is in the best interest of the people of California.

We would like to redirect the questions and concerns of the 250+ companies (thousands of employees) to some one in Sacramento that will help us resolve the issue.”

Dutton’s office reports that the DMV sends out 500,000 registrations each week, and more than two million each month.

Ticketed In Other States

While the DMV is saying that the more than two million California drivers will not be charged late fees for the late July registration, many drivers are concerned that the delay will interrupt summer auto travel plans.

One Sacramento woman called a local radio show last week and said that she and her husband had been planning for more than two years to go on a multi-state road trip this summer with their grandchildren — plans which are about to be curtailed. She has contacted the DMVs in the states in which they plan to travel, and was told by each office that expired registrations will ticketed — no exceptions. And, she and her family were planning on staying on military bases along the way, but now will not be allowed on any of the bases without current auto license and registration, which is a standard military requirement.

Some reports indicate that California highway patrol officers will be instructed to ignore late registrations during July.

“I’m not a real political person,” said Rieger, “but it’s apparent that the DMV is being told what to do. This is stepping on the heads of small business.”

Rieger said he is talking to everyone he can possibly reach to expose the problem to his business and many others, as well as the problem affecting California auto travelers. “These are clearly political negotiations, and they are doing it at our expense,” said Rieger.

On May 2, the bill passed through the committee that authored it, the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review. The vote was 9 to 4, with all the ayes being Democrats and all the nays being Republicans.

In the full Assembly, it passed on a party vote as well: 52-22.

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